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Weddings are big business for many professonals

Despite the recession, the wedding market has not taken as big a hit as other industries. The Wedding Industry Report, published by The Wedding Report and available at www.thewweddingreport.com, tracks wedding spending, including everything from the ring to the last photograph. Las Vegas plays host to an average 10,000 marriage ceremonies a year. The average spending per wedding is estimated at more than $26,000.

Where will all the money go? The report’s category summary includes attire and accessories, beauty and spa, entertainment, flowers and decorations, gifts and favors, invitations, jewelry, photography and video, planner/consultant, transportation, venue, catering and rentals.

Anyone who has a business that provides these services will want to take advantage of this market, and employment seekers need to be aware of where the jobs are. Chris Evans, a former resident of Las Vegas, now operates Bridal Business Boot Camp, which provides the data in the report. Similar data are gathered for other locales nationwide. Evans, whose business also can be found at www.bridalmarketingconcierge.com, travels from city to city, taking his “boot camp” strategies to local wedding planners across the nation.

According to the Wedding Industry Report, the average expenditure for attire and accessories is about $1,700. Obvious sources for these dollars are the bridal stores: David’s Bridal, Celebrations Bridal, Alfred Angelo and Jessica McClintock, to name a few. Stores that sell or rent dresses and tuxedoes or suits employ salespeople who need to be service-oriented, dressed well and know how to measure for size and basic tailoring. The stores also require tailors. A person with some documented sewing experience could start as an assistant tailor in one of these stores and learn on the job.

If you are artistic, you may consider making jewelry or accessories specially suited for weddings. Tiaras have become more popular recently for brides, and unique tiaras can be handmade. Add a veil if the bride prefers one. Handmade jewelry given as gifts for the wedding party would also be a unique addition to the wedding market. The stores that provide apparel also handle accessories, but enterprising jewelry makers could contact wedding planners with photos of their work.

Invitations are usually purchased from a specialty store like Alligator Soup, with two locations in the valley. Alligator Soup at Village Square was named Best Wedding Invitations 2012 company by Las Vegas Bride Magazine.

There are also departments for invitations at many of the other wedding vendors. A growing trend is to have a photographer take pictures of the couple and make the invitation from these pictures. A person who knows how to use picture and text software might find employment with an invitation or photography vendor.

The valley is home to many jewelry stores. If you’re looking to become employed in a jewelry store, you’ll be wise to learn about gemology. You certainly should know the four C’s of diamonds: cut, clarity, color and carat. The Gemological Institute of America offers classes worldwide on campuses or delivered to your computer through www.gia.edu. While it is wise to know the basics before you interview, you can learn quite a bit online absolutely free. A person does not have to be a gemologist to sell jewelry, and you can learn more on the job after you are hired.

The beauty and spa expenditure is estimated to be about $125 per wedding in the Wedding Industry Report. Since most wedding hairstyles are formal updos, a stylist would be wise to learn how to do them and to advertise this skill. Brides frequently have to go to an unfamiliar stylist on their wedding day if their usual stylist is not experienced with more formal styling.

Entertainment is an area wide open to people with vision and knowledge of how to operate the equipment. An investment in disc jockey equipment and the ability to work with people may be all a person needs to create his or her own business. Most weddings include a DJ. In addition to music, the DJ may provide additional mood lighting, a video made from photos of the couple and selected music, and even more.

Some DJs even become something of a master of ceremonies. They arrange the timing of events with the couple in advance, and they announce these events, such as the cake cutting and bouquet toss, as they occur, queuing preselected music to the event. The events themselves may be as creative as the couple. The DJ may provide props as gags, including music to add to the humor. Or things may be kept on a more sophisticated level, depending on what the consumer likes.

Flowers and decorations usually bring another $1,700, according to the Wedding Industry Report. These can be purchased from any of the hundreds of floral businesses in the valley. These jobs are opening right now, as flower shops pick up business around Valentine’s Day and in the spring and summer for Mother’s Day and weddings. A person willing to learn quickly and to work with customers well might find this kind of work interesting.

Decorating is another area where there is the possibility of creating your own business. If you know how to work with flowers and have an eye for decorating, there are wholesale floral businesses like this one at www.wholesale
, where you can buy the supplies and make the arrangements yourself.

A wedding decorator needs to keep flexible hours to be available for set up on the wedding schedule and will likely need to hire assistants to get the job done in the allotted time. If you do not want to set up as an entrepreneur but you have skills in this area, look for listings of decorators at sites like www.wedalert.com.

It is also wise to ask who decorated any wedding you attend for which you like the atmosphere. You may hire on as an assistant.

Photography and video are estimated in the report cost about $2,800 per wedding. Photography and video equipment is expensive, so it is less likely that a person could start his or her own business with a small investment. But knowledge of photography and willingness to work well with clients go a long way toward getting hired by one of the existing businesses in town.

A growing trend in wedding photography is location-based prewedding pictures. The bride and groom or the entire wedding party are transported, sometimes by helicopter, to a visually exciting area for spectacular pictures. One person with photography training and another with a helicopter license could find business by connecting with wedding planners.

The Wedding Industry Report estimates that a wedding planner will earn about $1,600 per wedding. A planner needs to be extremely organized, have flexible hours, be available to the client, be on top of deadlines and have many contacts in the various businesses that are involved in weddings.

Most businesses that cater to weddings are husband and wife enterprises, and they have cut back during the recession, doing all the work themselves, according to Debra Hansen, director of operations at Bridal Spectacular, Las Vegas’ largest bridal event. This year’s Bridal Spectacular is Friday and Saturday at Cashman Center.

For a schedule of other events this year, visit www.bridalspectacular.com.

Hansen advises those who want to get into the wedding business to get appropriate education first. The International School of Hospitality, known as TISOH, has courses available at a Las Vegas campus or online. Information is available at www.tisoh.com. A student can take a specific course like “wedding planning” in less than three months or can continue to take courses for a more comprehensive diploma.

Many people start out at the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. There are various degrees available at this school, with a wide variety of choices for future employment.

With a background in event planning, a person can become a convention planner, a wedding planner and many other possible positions. Event planners with training and experience can apply for positions at certain venues or venture out on their own. There is currently considerable turnaround in this area, according to Hansen.

Transportation costs are estimated at about $400 in the Wedding Industry Report. This number likely represents the cost of renting a limousine for the couple, although there are weddings that involve travel for the entire wedding party. Limousine drivers need a special driver’s license, they need to be personable and courteous, and their hours must be flexible. The pay is not likely to be at the top of the hourly scale, but tips can be excellent.

The most expensive category in the report is venue, catering and rentals. Since Las Vegas is a destination for weddings, there are many possibilities for a wedding venue, some of which need to be booked months – even years – head..

The small wedding chapels will likely contract with a preferred photographer and cake baker, as well as any other services they offer. They are not likely to have job openings for these services. They are more likely to offer jobs in sales, where the employee on the phone books the wedding and arranges for any services the location provides.

Locations may offer catering, food and drink service, rental of tables and chairs, and other extras. Some locations even have wedding packages that include wedding cakes and photography.

Search the Wedding Wire at www.weddingwire.com for a list of many venues. There are many styles to choose from. That means there are many employment opportunities. A person trained in food and drink service should look for employment at locations providing this service, but there is more. Consider the options for transportation , host and hostess, floral and decorating, cleaning, maintenance, and more.

And if you don’t have much experience, consider starting at the bottom, like delivering chairs for a rental company or washing dishes at a bakery. You can move up from there if you show promise.

Las Vegas is home to several specialty cake shops. Las Vegas Custom Cakes, Freed’s Bakery and The Gourmet Cake Factory are just a few. These shops employ professional cake bakers and decorators, but they also make less fancy items, and they get plenty of business. An experienced baker could look for employment at these shops as well as at any of the hotel bakeries.

Most businesses that cater to weddings keep lists of contacts that also work in the field. They do this because when a bride goes to order her cake, she may mention that she is also looking for tables and chairs to rent. The cake shop will give the bride a referral to a rental business, and in the future, the rental shop will recommend the cake shop. A job seeker should be aware of this and pick up referrals wherever they may be found.

A new entrepreneur needs to research the market effectively, according to Hansen. In any business that caters to weddings, connections are a must and knowing how others in the field work is essential, so all services can be coordinated. In addition, in every category, more purchases are made every year online. Any business looking toward the future must have an Internet website and be able to book occasions and accept payments online.

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